Kamala Harris: Trump's treatment of migrants is 'a crime against humanity'

Kamala Harris: Trump's treatment of migrants is 'a crime against humanity'
© Greg Nash

After visiting a migrant detention facility on Friday, California Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Rasmussen poll: Nearly three-quarters of Dems want 'fresh face' as nominee in 2020 Kamala Harris lands book deal MORE (D) accused the Trump administration of committing "crimes against humanity."

Harris visited the Otay Mesa Detention Facility near San Diego, Calif., to meet with migrant mothers who had been separated from their children, according to Bloomberg.

“This is outrageous,” Harris said, addressing a crowd of several hundred protesters outside the facility, Bloomberg reported. “This is clearly a crime against humanity that is being committed by the United States government and we have to stop it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Harris blasted the administration for giving "no indication" of how the process of reuniting separated migrant families would work.

More than 2,000 migrant children were separated from their parents upon crossing into the U.S. illegally under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy from April to May. The policy, announced in April, sought to aggressively prosecute migrants who crossed the southern border illegally, often leading to children being separated from their parents as the adults awaited court dates.

Harris described the detention facility as a "prison."

“I am a career prosecutor; I have visited many prisons and jails. That is a prison," she said.

During her visit to the facility, which is operated by private prison company CoreCivic Inc., Harris spoke with three immigrant mothers who said they had been forcibly separated from their children at the U.S.–Mexico border with limited or no contact.

“They’re in complete and utter despair,” Harris told Bloomberg. “We can’t let everyone kind of turn the page, like ‘Oh, OK, we’re now bored with this subject, let’s move on to the next.' It’s still very real for these families. A day in the life of a child who’s not with their parent is a very long day.”

“These mothers that I spoke with, they think that they’re alone. We need to remind them and everyone else that they are not alone and that we all stand with them," she told the crowd outside.

Democrats and Republicans unleashed a wave of criticism at the Trump administration after it was revealed that thousands of children had been forcibly separated from their parents at the border and detained in separate detention facilities, many behind chain fences.

The president, bowing to bipartisan pressure, backed down from his policy on Wednesday and signed an executive order halting family separations. The order, which does not address the futures of migrant families that have already been separated, says that most families are to be detained together while adults await court proceedings.